Puppy playpens are a vital accessory for any dog owner and they yield many benefits for both you and your pup. Find out which ones we recommend over all others below.
Not only are puppy playpens an important tool for training puppies, but they’re also an area where your pup can express itself in a more open way than if they were kept in a dog crate.
Playpens give you peace of mind that your pup is safe whilst you roam the house or go out for short periods. They’re spacious, fun and with open tops, they’re much less enclosing than dog crates.
Dog crates obviously have their place too but playpens are different and are simply bigger and roomier.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t own both and it’s important for your dog to not always be kept in a dog crate when supervision is difficult or otherwise not possible.
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If you're looking for your first playpen for puppies then here are some important features you should be looking at.
Size matters to the extent that a fast-growing energetic puppy will likely need a larger playpen from the get-go, whereas a smaller dog may never truly outgrow a smaller playpen.
Playpens become less useful once a puppy is trained to go without its owner and entertain itself but larger playpens are excellent for keeping small dogs in gardens where there might be escape routes or in other people’s houses where you don’t want your dog to be roaming around too much.
The number of puppies you expect to have is another important consideration when it comes to judging the size.
Having a playpen of an adequate height is vital so the playpen actually works the way it should. It’s not a lot of good if your dog can jump out of it!
Playpens are usually tall enough to prevent most pups from escaping, because pups don’t usually have very well-developed muscles and will be unable to jump out easily.
However, this will change rapidly and in the case of tall, athletic dogs, playpens may quickly become escapable.
Of course, manufacturers have taken this into account and playpens are marketed alongside the kind of dogs and sizes they’re suitable for.
Indoor or Outdoor
Many playpens are made from metal and are suitable for outdoor use. Others are made from softer fabrics and should stay indoors.
Outdoor playpens are very useful for when gardens or outside areas are not dog-proof. It’s usually possible to use most playpens for puppies both in and outdoors without too much worry or hassle.
Having an outdoor playpen that's easily transported is a really useful tool for when taking your dog to a friend's house for a BBQ for example.
Dog crates are made from metal, plastic or softer materials like cloth and foam.
Older, smaller dogs may be fine with softer materials but teething puppies may be inclined to chew straight through it!
For the most part, metal is the common material for playpens. Super-strong puppies with big jaws and determined chewing will likely need a metal playpen.
Softer playpens just aren’t up the task of keeping all dogs from chewing right through them. Of course, if you have a gentle dog or super-soft puppy then soft playpens may work just fine.
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Different materials have different levels of durability and as mentioned, whilst steel will basically secure any puppy or small dog, softer materials aren’t indestructible and your dog may be able to chew through them and escape given a couple of hours and a lot of energy and determination!
Metal playpens are invariably the most durable and will likely comfortably bear the brunt of both your dog’s efforts to escape and the elements of the outdoors without much wear.
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Some playpens are foldable and highly portable, allowing them to be taken down and resurrected in other areas of the house and garden.
You may also be able to choose how many side panels you use and therefore how big you make the playpen. If only a smaller playpen is required, it’ll be much easier to strip the playpen down and put it up somewhere else.
The weight of the playpen is another important consideration. Obviously being lighter makes it easier to carry but this also makes it easier to be pushed around by a strong puppy.
A portable playpen is really useful on trips to places where your puppy can't be trusted to roam free without causing chaos!
Some playpens feature some sort of modular or customisable designs allowing you to choose various configurations. This is very useful when choosing to set up the playpen in confined or funny-shaped areas.
Some playpens can even be combined together to create extra-large setups for larger rooms and gardens.
Our Recommended Puppy Playpens
Take a look at how our recommendations compare in the table below before reading the detailed reviews that follow.
OUR TOP PICK
Yaheetech 8 Panel Puppy Playpen
- Heavy duty
- Multiple configurations
- Safe & secure
- Convenient to store
Ellie-Bo Easy-Up PlayPen
- Easy to set-up
Pet 45 Foldable Playpen
- Easily transported
- Mesh doors and windows
Doggy Style Puppy Playpen
- Folds flat for storage
- Simple assembly
- Removable plastic coated floor
- 8 panel design allows multiple shape configurations
OUR TOP PICK
Yaheetech 8 Panel Puppy Playpen
This 8-panel metal playpen is made from ultra-strong steel wiring and is suitable for almost all puppies and small dogs as well as other animals like rabbits.
Since it’s constructed from steel, it’s extremely strong but also provides your puppy with excellent 360-degree visibility so they don’t feel confined or claustrophobic.
In total, there are 8 panels and these measure 80cm x 80cm making for a total playpen circumference of 6.4m. The whole pen weighs a total of 15.9 kg.
You can disconnect and reconnect them however you want. So shapes such as an octagon, circle, rectangle or square are all possible.
It’s even possible to connect multiple sets of panels together from 2 or more playpens to create larger fences for gardens and other areas.
One of the panels is the entrance/exit panel and allows for fast and secure fastening of the playpen. The locking system is pet-proof and can be locked with a padlock if required or fixed with wire or string for extra security.
The panels can be collapsed and packed down easily for portability and you don’t have to use all 8 if you don’t want to, it’s perfectly possible to assemble a smaller playpen from just 4 panels.
The 80cm height is suitable for nearly all puppies as well as younger dogs, small to medium-sized breeds or older fully-grown dogs who won’t otherwise try and escape.
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Ellie-Bo Easy-Up Playpen
This is a steel playpen with eight 61cm square sides. It’s cheap, effective and with cortina-style collapsibility, it’s extremely well suited for travelling or disassembling and reassembling on the fly.
In fact, you can put this playpen up in just 15 seconds (so they say!). Simply unravel the panels and fasten the two end panels.
As a steel playpen, this playpen is very strong and allows your dog to see everywhere around them without trouble or hindrance. The hinged door features a bolt-action lock that can be fastened securely with a padlock or tied up for extra security.
The 61cm height of this playpen is a reasonable size and should be fine for most puppies and smaller dogs (unless they’re high-jump gold medalists!). Dogs may grow out of it pretty fast so keep an eye on your dog and their ability to jump and escape - don’t take any chances.
Since this playpen features 8 panels, it can be arranged in a square or any other shapes that it can flex to. This makes it easy to erect in tighter spaces such as small gardens, hallways or living rooms, etc.
Given this playpen is smaller than average, it is very portable and light and can easily be stowed away into cupboards or car boots.
It actually weighs just 7.5 kg, which is significantly lighter than our last recommendation. Just remember that this makes it easier to push be pushed around by a strong dog too.
Best Portable Playpen
Pet 45 Foldable Playpen
This playpen is slightly different and is constructed from durable soft materials instead of metal.
It’s a soft playpen with mesh sides and a roof, allowing puppies to be enclosed all around to prevent ninja pups from climbing out of the top!
This is both an indoor and outdoor puppy playpen. It works well outdoors by shielding dogs from their surroundings somewhat, which can help ease anxiety in dogs when they’re left alone temporarily (or are in a busy environment).
The softer interior is also comforting, highly breathable and can be padded out with blankets or cushions to make it super-comfy and cosy.
This fabric puppy playpen is also foldable and comes with its own carry bag. It works somewhat like a pop-up tent and can be packed away easily with a bit of practice.
This makes it a superb choice for when you head out with your pup, say to the park or on holiday.
Available in 3 different sizes, this playpen is suitable for puppies and many small to medium-sized dog breeds.
The largest version is 61” or 154cm across with a height of 30” or 75cm. The medium-sized version is 114cm across and 60cm tall and the smallest version is 36” or 90cm across and also 60cm tall.
Best suited for puppies that are non-destructive, this playpen offers something comfortable and portable for you and your pup.
The enclosed space can be calming and help your dog feel comfortable inside the space - they might just try and take up permanent residence inside it!
Doggy Style Puppy Playpen
So what about the most durable playpens? Assuming your dog isn’t Wolverine, this puppy playpen with floor included is as tough as they get and offers the very best in strength and stability.
It features strong metal tubing, rather than wire, and has a metal base that allows you to secure it to the floor.
This playpen may seem like more of a permanent fitting to your home, but actually, it’s very easy to collapse and store. It can fold down in just a few actions, allowing you to slide it away conveniently.
The advantage of this playpen is that it's very strong and simply should not break. Of course, whilst some dogs are calm and simply will not try and bite and claw their way at a playpen, some will do this out of frustration and just for fun.
This playpen allows for maximum security and peace of mind. It even has double door catches for extra security and can easily be fastened with a padlock.
This playpen is rectangular in shape and measures 107 x 73 x 71cm. 71 cm is tall enough to accommodate many types of small and medium-sized dogs without much issue but it’s vital you keep an eye on your dog to make sure it doesn’t have an ingenious escape route.
Super-strong, adaptable and modular in design, this superb playpen is a top-notch all-rounder.
With 8 panels measuring a whopping 80cm x 80cm, this playpen can sport a total circumference of 6.4m!
By all accounts, it’s extremely similar to the first playpen in the list and features an 8-panel octagonal design that can also be modified and flexed into different shapes and sizes.
In fact, it’s possible to make this playpen into a rectangle, square or octagon. The panels can be attached and reattached at will meaning you don’t even need to use all 8 panels if you don’t want to.
Instead, you can opt to use just 4 panels for a compact square-shaped playpen.
Alternatively, you can actually buy 2 or more of these and turn them into ultra-large playpens that make excellent garden fences or perimeters!
At 80cm tall, this large puppy playpen is easily tall enough to safely house most pups and small or medium-sized dogs without much issue.
Of course, it’s always wise to check your dog to make sure they aren’t able to pole-vault their way out of the playpen or discover whether they’re Houndini and are always able to hatch some sort of audacious escape plan.
The stainless-steel coated metal construction of this playpen also makes it suitable for indoor or outdoor use and the bolt-action lock is very easy to fasten.
Puppy playpens are crucial for both you and your pup. Allowing your pup to roam about a somewhat open area whilst you spend time around the house or garden is very important for its development and provides peace of mind that he or she can’t escape.
There are many playpens available but these 5 represent the best for portability, flexibility, durability and functionality.
In our eyes, the Yaheetech option is the best out there but we'll leave that up to you to decide.
Whether you’re looking for a soft playpen for a gentle pup or a super-strong steel playpen for your bruiser, there’s a playpen here to suit you and your dog.
Always remember to set up playpens properly and secure the door. Using a padlock can’t hurt just in case the bolt somehow shakes free through some freak occurrence.